Mount Pleasant

Research & Collections

In the late 18th-century, an accidental fire would take the former detached kitchen-turned-home for enslaved field laborers. While catastrophic for the family that was living in the structure—their every possession but for the clothes on their back consumed by the flames—this unfortunate incident has also given archaeologists an unparalleled look into the everyday domestic lives of this family.

Contained within the burned remains of the household recovered from the cellar was a collection of over two-dozen plates, tea bowls, and saucers, as well as personal items such as cuff links with paste gems, sewing thimbles an pins, buckles and other items that would have slipped through the floorboards or were lost during the blaze.

From these remains, archaeologists will be able to compare and contrast the different experiences of the enslaved community across the plantation—from the enslaved field laborers of the Tobacco Barn Quarter to the enslaved skilled laborers of the Stable Yard, and finally to the domestic servants that living and worked in the South Yard.

Plates and tea-wares recovered from the ashes of Mount Pleasant.  Here the vessels have been "re-vesselized," or the hundreds of fragments carefully put back together into their original form.